Friday, October 29, 2010

because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea

The Cybil’s list of middle-grade fiction is full of 144 books. Our task is to read the first 50 pages of as many books as possible and then marrow it down. Not an easy endeavor, especially if they are like because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea. At page 98 I realized I was way past the 50 page minimum.


I don’t cry. Plain and simple I don’t cry. I have a good reason for not crying. It is too hard to stop. I don’t like the feeling of losing control. It took many years for this to happen. The event that put me to the point of no more tears happened 20 years ago. I spent too many days crying while my brother laid in a coma with a brain injury. For a long time I thought it was my fault. Why didn’t I just drive him to the bank? I was an adult so I realized that it wasn’t my fault. It was just an accident. This book made me cry and I didn’t care. Actually, I do care. It is such a special book that it deserves my tears and laughter. Thank you Mr. Buyea.

As teachers we read many books that touch us and more importantly we get to spend our day with children that touch us and make us better people. because of mr. terupt is a book that has both. It is a beautiful book about a class of fifth graders and a new teacher. The book is told by seven of the students. I love books like this because it is a graet way to teach voice and narration to kids. My spoiler gives away that someone ends up in a coma with a brain injury; but as Jessica, one of the students, tell Mr Terupt she likes happy endings. This book does have one.

I first I thought this would be a great read aloud. I’m not sure. The tears are still fresh. I will get back to you if I do. What I can say is enjoy this first novel.
Thank you delacorte press and Random House for the book.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cybils 2010

Teachers are an odd breed. We fill our plates and when we see something new and exciting we say "Wow, now I can fill my dessert plate!" That's what it is like being a First Round Cybils Judge. Even better is the fact that this year I came back for seconds. I am a judge on the Middle Grade Panel. It is a strange category because middle grade is an odd group. the range is beginning third graders to just shy of YA. Talk about a range. I have read some wonderful books so far. Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a Book by Lane Smith Part 1

A couple of weeks ago The Bookies had its yearly Teacher Night. As usual it was a joyful night. One of the employees even commented that it is fun to see so many familiar faces. It is fun to catch up with friends and colleagues and to talk about what is great in the kid lit world. I always look forward to what the great staff at The Bookies is going to share. This year was no different. There are so many wonderfully interesting books out there. I am excited about all the new books I got that night. One that stands out is It’s A Book by Lane Smith.

I love this book on so many levels. Recently there was a disheartening article in the New York Times that discussed the decline of the picture book because many parents feel they are TOO EASY. It’s a Book disputes that argument. NO FOUR YEAR OLD is going to get the true meaning of this book. However, they will still enjoy this book.

It’s a Book pokes fun at technology. At Teacher Night I did have an interesting conversation with Shelly. She’s a wonderful resource and a true book lover. We talked about young kids and how easy it is for them to use an IPad and other types of technology. She mentioned during her presentation how she watched a trailer of a book she had on her lap. Truth be told we don’t know the impact e-books and other forms of technology are going to have on books. I do know that if we challenge kids using them and tell them that they can only read from a book we will lose.

It’s a Book has three characters. There is the monkey that loves to read, his fellow soul mate the mouse, and the techno-lover Jackass. The morning after Teacher’s Night I read It’s a Book to a couple of teachers. They both were shocked that I would even consider reading it to kids. They were both concerned that a teacher would get in trouble reading the word jackass to a class. I was SHOCKED, so I read it to a couple of more teachers. One said he’d read it to his own kids, but never to his class. Their reactions scared me and my beliefs. (That’s never a good thing when a children’s book is involved.) It is impolite to call someone a jackass, but when did it reach the level of forbidden words. It was used often on the Andy Griffith show. I had my assistant principal read it. She said “Can’t you just say his name is Donkey?” I said should I just say Winnie the Bathroom?” Ok, I didn’t say that but I thought that. Now I am worried. What is happening? I leave the book for my principal. Later in the day she drops it off and says, “I love it. Any parents call I’m sending them to you.” She is very supportive. This was the answer I was looking for.

After she left I picked it up and said “There are many different names for a donkey. This book uses one of them. Its’ a Book by Lane Smith….” We laughed at the pictures, we laughed at the sentences and we laughed at Jackass.

It's A Book - By Lane Smith Part 2